Date: 8/22/17 1:13 pm
From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
Subject: [texbirds] Pictures from the coast last week
Started the day on Thursday taking the sunrise ferry across to Bolivar from
Galveston. Stopped to see if my friends of last winter were back and found
the newly returned black-bellied plover

Joined by least sandpipers

And a western willet molting into winter plumage in feather order and not
randomly like they normally do

Looking at websites for unknown birds at this time of year, the commonest
species is the brown-headed cowbird

They are in heavy molt into more adult feathering and there are lots of
pinfeathers sticking out everywhere

Groups of feeding birds can easily be id'd by the tails of the feeding
birds sticking up in the air, very few birds do that as a group

I have only seen 2 least tern chicks this summer. This one was from a
couple of weeks ago and a scan of about 600 least terns had no chicks of
the year that could fly

About 100 Wilson's plovers were out on the beach, most resting

They got disturbed twice when each of the two crested caracaras out on the
beach looked for brunch

The summering dunlin is fully molted and all new feathers. We rarely see
birds that look like this as very few summer and they molt on the nesting
grounds so have a few thousand miles of wear by the time the reach the UTC

More and more spoonbills out on the beaches

Younger pelicans are starting to get breeding plumage.

A magnificent frigatebird followed the ferry for a good ways

Lots of chance to see their aerial abilities

East beach had a couple of lesser black-backed gulls

The pool by the jetty had lots of trapped and dead fish resulting in lots
of piracy. One royal tern got a 3 inch fish and 14 other terns chased it.
Turnstones, sanderlings, piping plovers, and several species of herons all
fought for food that was readily available.

Least sandpipers did not stand a chance

This piping plover was over on bolivar flats in April

Lots of western sandpipers had arrived and not really molting yet

Up on the Texas City Dike the other common bird that is a mystery bird at
this time of year is the European Starling. This one is molting into winter
and adult plumage

Had my first young of the year peep in a puddle

And a fluffy snowy plover

A great blue heron handled a large fish. The fish was still flopping when I
came by. It put it down and stabbed it several times

And then had lots of trouble getting it off the bill. When dead or subdued,
it was down the hatch

Which took quite a bit of work

And gravity finished the job

Fewer birds than I thought were out there and the tides were out with the
southwest wind creating good habitat but the food was elsewhere.

Joseph C. Kennedy
on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston

Edit your Freelists account settings for TEXBIRDS at

Reposting of traffic from TEXBIRDS is prohibited without seeking permission
from the List Owner

Join us on Facebook!